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R U OK? Day and World Suicide Prevention Day 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015


Yesterday saw two big events, World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day, put conversations about suicide in the spotlight.

Many people in Australia and around the world took time out to discuss suicide and suicide prevention. In particular what do we say to someone when we are worried they might be thinking about suicide and how best to ask ‘R U OK?’

As part of activities on the day, Projects Coordinator Alexandra Culloden was interviewed by ABC NSW about asking the question, R U OK? and what happens next in the conversation. Have a listen to the interview here:

The team at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health also took time yesterday to check in with their loved ones, and shared the below message about how to to ask the important question, R U OK?

R U OK? Only three little words, or just four letters, depending on which generation you are from.

Today is R U OK? Day, a national day of action dedicated to reminding us to check in regularly with family and friends. 

It sounds simple enough right? But how often have we put off a phone call or cancelled a coffee date because of our busy lives.  

When life is busy, it is nice every now and then to get a reminder to slow down and make time. 

R U OK? Day is about strengthening our relationships and bridging the gap between caring about someone and letting them know that you are there for them when they need it.

Everyone can take part in R U OK? Day and the first important step is to ask R U OK? 

But don’t ask it in a way that makes people feel they have to say “fine”. Ask it in a way that the person can answer honestly and be ready for the response.  

Sometimes people are fearful of asking R U OK because they feel ill-equipped if the answer is “no, I’m not”. 

The truth is, you don’t need to be a trained professional or an expert to support someone going through a tough time. You just need to be able to listen to their concerns without judgement and to take the time to follow up with them. 

So, here are the four steps to asking R U OK?

Step one: Start the conversations - ask R U OK?  To be honest, use any words that you feel comfortable with.

Step two: Listen without judgement and don’t try and solve the problem.  Just be there.

Step three: Encourage action, whether that is telling someone else or making an appointment with their doctor or getting more information from a service online.

Step four: Follow up. Check in with them again tomorrow at work or put a note in your diary to call them in one week.

So, if there is someone that you have been thinking about and wondering how they are going - ring them, email them, see if they want to catch up for a coffee or a walk. 

Our connection to others is what builds us up and keeps us strong. Having people sit beside us when times are good and when times are bad can make all the difference. 

And if you are not OK, make today the day you tell someone. Talk to a trusted friend or contact one of the many services who are ready to listen.  

For more information on R U OK? Day, go to  
For more information on World Suicide Prevention Day, go to
For practical resources on talking about suicide, go to 

Services you can talk to today and everyday: